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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Pull Of The PTO

I often wonder how successful female writers/moms structure their time – how do they fit it all in? I, of course, fantasize that they hire out most of their chores, have nannies, and spend very little time with their kids. I am sure; however, this is not true. I am sure that they attack writing with much more discipline than I and therefore are able to actually complete manuscripts and sell them while dinner is simmering in the crockpot.

I am a classic time-waster/procrastinator; therefore, this year I told myself I was going to limit the activities that would keep me away from writing during my kid-free writing time. To that end, I resisted the initial urge to volunteer as a room parent for my children’s classes this year. But somehow as my son’s very sweet kindergarten teacher announced repeatedly that they were still looking for room parents, I found myself volunteering to help. Two days later while the kids were all in school I was sitting in a PTO meeting listening to women debate policies, activities, fundraisers, and budgets. I couldn't help feel it was a colossal waste of time – I mean, really, is my involvement in the Parent-Teacher Organization going to help my children with their education?

Once again, I find myself wondering – was Jodi Picoult ever a room mom? Is Sara Gruen active in the PTO/PTA/Home School Association? Has Jennifer Weiner stood in school during picture day to comb the hair of kindergartners? Has Judy Blume ever sorted Kidstuff books?

I know JK Rowling wrote in a café while her children napped in their prams but I squandered away what little napping time I had on laundry and dishes. According to Wikipedia, Danielle Steel was determined to spend as much time as possible with her own SEVEN children, often writing at night and making do with only four hours of sleep. Apparently Toni Morrison also would write before the kids woke up and after they went to sleep at night. In an interview, she is cited as having said:
“I remember one day when I was confused about what I had to do next – write a review, pick up groceries, what? I took out a yellow pad and made a list of all the things I had to do. It included large things, like ‘be a good daughter and a good mother,’ and small things, like ‘call the phone company.’ I made another list of the things I wanted to do. There were only two things without which I couldn't live: mother my children and write books. Then I cut out everything that didn't have to do with those two things.”
That sounds like a new mantra to me! The look on my kids’ faces when I enter the school for whatever reason is worth every minute I am away from my computer. Yesterday, I may have spent my writing time monitoring school pictures, but as my kindergartner flaunted me around to his classmates, surreptitiously kissing my hand -- I knew it was worth it. I may fail daily at achieving both the title of “Supermom” and “Author” but if I can achieve little advances towards both I am happy and hopefully so are the kids!

How could I resist missing this Field-Day Face just to piddle away at writing?

1 comment:

  1. Every day I wake up to face a do-list filled with things I don’t want to do. It’s time I made a second list like Toni Morrison. My kids and family will always be my first priority, but writing comes way above vacuuming and ironing. Thanks for your inspirational blog.